Hiking: A Sport For All

Hiking is one of my favourite things to do on the weekend, it helps me get out in the fresh air and exercise whilst being in a beautiful environment. Of course I love going to the gym but sometimes a change of scenery and different types of exercise can be good for the mind, body and soul.

Be prepared...

The first thing you need to think about when you're going hiking is safety. There is nothing more important than being prepared, therefore you must make sure you bring as many thing as you need to be prepared for the worst. Whether you're just going for a day hike or camping out, you need to be fully equipped. Some things to consider bringing are: 
. Water 
. Food (as much as you need for the time you are out) 
. Lots of layers 
. Spare clothes 
. Hiking poles 
. Hiking boots 
. Map 
. Phone & Charger 

If you're new to hiking, I would never suggest you go alone, no matter how easy the terrain is. If you get lost things can get pretty scary if you're on your own. It would be even better if you can go with someone that has experience of hiking and knows what they're doing, that way they can plan the route and guide you properly. 

Push yourself to your limits...

The great thing about hiking is that there are so many ways to adapt it to your fitness level. If you're a beginner or getting into fitness, you can always start with an easier hike, not too steep and not too long, but you'll still feel the benefits. If you want to challenge yourself, choosing steeper and more intense climbs can challenge your cardiovascular health and your leg strength. The length of your hike can also determine the difficulty, if you've done it a few times then an overnight hike might be fun and push you that little bit further. Other ideas include mountain biking and integrating rock climbing into the hike so that get to use other muscles. 

The benefits...

Hiking like all sports comes with a variety of health benefits, one of them being your cardiovascular health. Any exercise that you over a long period is good for your cardiovascular health and the great thing about hiking is that it is for all ages. If you're an older adult it may be more difficult to take part in more intense exercise, but hiking can be a great way to still help your heart stay healthy without putting too much pressure on your joints and bones. In terms of fitness, hiking is also extremely beneficial for building strength in your legs and again, good for any age. 

But it's not just all about your physical health, hiking can also help you mentally feel better. Being out in the fresh air clears your head and gives you time to think, a lot of people spend a lot of time indoors these days and working in stressful environments can leave you feeling down. Spending time in a beautiful environment and doing some exercise can be one of the best ways to relieve stress and get rid of symptoms of depression and anxiety. 


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